Sunday, March 30, 2008

One potent PSA

From Canada, a Public Service Announcement that puts domestic violence in perspective:


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Saturday, March 29, 2008

You want a lap dance to go with that TV?

This one is for those that think Christianity is the basis of morality and the waning influence of Christianity is the source of moral decay:
Police say a pastor who was reported missing from his home in western New York has been found at an Ohio strip club. [MSNBC]
Craig Rhodenizer, the above referenced missing Pastor "disappeared" last Wednesday after telling his wife he was going to BestBuy to get his computer fixed. Thus far there's ben no word on whether the good Pastor did actually drop off his computer to get fixed on route to the strip club, but if I were his wife, I'd have the hard drive checked just to see what unChristian immorality it bears witness to.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Common Sense Prevails in the Midwest

YAY! The 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled to uphold a lower court ruling that permitted the WI state Pharmacy Examining Board to sanction Neil Noesen who, in his capacity as a pharmacist, refused not only to dispense a lawful prescription for birth control pills but also refused to transfer the prescription to a pharmacy that would fill the prescription."
"Noesen abandoned even the steps necessary to perform in a minimally competent manner under any standard of care," the three-judge panel said. The decision upheld a ruling by Barron County Circuit Judge James Babler.


Noesen testified he advised the woman of his objection to the use of contraception and refused to fill the prescription or tell her how or where she could get it refilled.
[Raw Story]
Noesen's attorney, indicated he's not sure whether there will be an appeal but expressed concern that the ruling would prevent pharmacists and other Health Care Providers from imposing their religious views on and, in some cases, interfering with medical care of (or refuse to provide standard medical care to) unwitting patients.


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Monday, March 24, 2008

The political equivalent of a golden shower

YouTube via Dlisted, I think they're singing about acid rain


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Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Mighty Land That Simply Lost Its Way

Some interesting things have happened since the initial dust-up over the angry words of Rev. Jeremiah Wright were made the center of debate as the democratic primaries enter their home stretch. Barack Obama delivered a speech on race in an effort to distance himself from a man who's revealed himself to be more like Louis Farrakhan than Martin Luther King, Jill started an interesting dialogue about the presumption that white folks' actions are based on race and I saw C.S.A The Movie*.

Now, let me tell you, when I got home last night all I wanted was a humorous diversion and, when I saw there was a mockumentary of what this country would be like if the South had won the war, I selected the feature expecting something closer to Spinal Tap slathered with mayonnaise than the extremely pointed satire I got. To be honest, had I known it was a Spike Lee production I may have put it off, but I'm glad I didn't because, while I was looking for a slightly sophomoric gigglefest, I found the film to be thought-provoking to be sure. Some of what was postulated as a likely result of Southern success looks a lot like what is going on today. That's one heckuva reality check but my guess is that is the exact reason the film was made.

Truth be told, we're not going to get much closer on the racial divide if we continue to look for slight where it is not intended. People of color should not assume that anytime a white person does/says something with which they disagree that the reason for it was based on color/ethnicity any more than white people should assume any of the nasty things they may assume about persons of color. That douchebaggery just makes things worse, and maintains a self-fulfilling prophecy of continued racism.

For the record:
  • I will vote for Hillary Clinton in the PA primary.
    • I am not voting for her because she is female
    • I am not voting for Clinton because Obama meets one-drop criteria or because I'm no fan of his former pastor's asshattery
    • I'm voting for Clinton because actually think she can get more shit done and I fear Obama panders a little too much to the religious right
  • I will vote for Obama in the generals because I don't think Clinton will be the democratic nominee (of course if she is the nominee, I will be voting for her)
  • Regardless of who is the democratic nominee, I sincerely pray these two politicians who claim they want to get this country back on the right track could find a way to work together to do exactly that (yeah, I know it won't happen but a girl can dream)

PS - if anyone can explain NiggerHair cigarettes to me, please do. Of all those stupid, racist sales ploys, this was the weirdest by far

*yes, I know this movie is more than 2 years old but this was the first I came across it


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Using a shield where it is not warranted

This morning's Inky features a few interesting editorials, but the one that has me yelling back at my computer is Mark Bowden's commentary on the need for strong shield laws to protect both the public and the media. I agree that the shield law is necessary and appropriate but am also aware that there are times these laws have been (and could very well be) a means to be used as a propaganda tool for the government, administration officials, political party, or to slander/libel a private citizen without being held accountable. In some cases, reporters may be willing participants who use the shield to hide their lack of integrity, and in some they may have been duped into being tools. The example Bowden uses to make his case is closer to the former as he writes he hopes that former Philadelphia Daily News staff writer, Toni Loci, wins an appeal to a judgment require she name her sources and pay $5,000/day until she complies with the ruling [emphasis added]
Loci is facing financial ruin for defying U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who is presiding over a civil lawsuit against the government by Steven Hatfill, the man Attorney General John Ashcroft named as a "person of interest" in the still-open anthrax-mailing case of 2001. The anthrax letters killed five people and sickened 17, sending the nation into a panic over a possible terrorist chemical attack.

The anthrax mailer has not been caught. Hatfill, a virologist and biomedical research scientist, has always asserted his innocence and has never been charged with the crime, but his reputation and career have been destroyed. FBI and Justice Department officials repeatedly identified him off the record to newspaper reporters as the prime suspect. One of those reporters was Loci. In two stories she wrote for USA Today in 2003 naming Hatfill as the primary suspect, she mentioned first four unidentified law-enforcement sources, and then three. Walton wants to know who they were.
Now, I'm not a journalist but were I to provide information "off the record" I would assume that the information would be used as a lead to obtain additional information or mentally filed, but I would not expect to find the information I provided off the record to be reported with myself indicated as an unnamed source. If I wanted a reporter to print the information I provided but absolutely needed my identity to remain confidential, I would not be making my statement off the record - I would reveal the information only if I could be assured it was unattributable (i.e., anonymous source).

Bowden acknowledges that Hatfill's career and reputation have been ruined and he has a right to know who provided Loci and any other reporter with the information that was used to ruin him. He also notes that, in this case
the use of unnamed sources in her stories was unnecessary and had the effect of both further staining Hatfill's reputation and inviting her current troubles. Neither of the stories she wrote was remarkable or exclusive.
Loci's sources made two mistakes in one: they provided information off the record to an unreliable reporter. They should have chosen what they said and to whom they said it more carefully. Additionally, the moment they saw the information they provided off the record in print they should have started the damage control necessary to prepare them for the inevitable revelation of their role in her story. As such, any assertion that she ought not be held responsible for any part of the damage done to Hatfill or that she should not have to out her sources just doesn't hold sway. In this case, the misuse/abuse of the shield law is the threat to a free press, forcing Loci to reveal her sources is not.


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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rhoda Penmark grows up

Apparently, The Bad Seed wasn't fiction, it was premonition about 35-year old Michelle Riley and 43-year old Judy Woods. Sadly for 29-year old Dorothy Dixon, Riley, who worked for West Central Illinois Center for Independent Living, befriended her in order to get her hands on the Social Security checks Dixon was receiving due to a developmental disability.

For the money, they allowed Dixon (and her young son) to live in their basement furnished with nothing but a thin rug and a mattress. The friendship and support didn't stop there, Riley & Woods, along with Riley's 15-year-old daughter, LeShelle McBride, Riley's 12-year old son, 16-year old Benny Wilson and 18-year old Michael Elliot showered Dixon with attention when they
used her for target practice with BBs, burned her with a glue gun and doused her with scalding liquid that peeled away her skin.

They torched what few clothes she had, so she walked around naked. They often pummeled her with an aluminum bat or metal handle. [Raw Story]
Dixon's year-old son weighed a whopping 15 pounds at the time of his mother's death and showed some signs of abuse.

For more information (and lovely pics) of these sociopaths, head to People You'll See In Hell.


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


According to Darth Cheney, the only time opinion polls reflect any the feelings of intelligent Americans is when the polls are in favor of BushCo's pitiful excuses for policies. As such, we should not be surprised that a man named Dick would respond to a poll that indicates that two-thirds of Americans now think the war was not worth fighting with an answer that shows the same utter contempt for Americans and the administration shows for the Constitution, the truth and anything that does not belong in the demon world. ABC may have inadvertently done Cheney more justice by editing his response to make it look as if he just said "So" since the full response wasn't really much better.

He then implied that when the American public changes their opinion when given the actual facts on which to based an opinion, it would be ludicrous to consider a corrected course of action:

"Q Two-thirds of Americans say it was not worth fighting.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: They ought to go spend time, like you and I have, Martha. You know what's been happening in Iraq. You've been there as much as anybody. There has, in fact, been fundamental change and transformation, and improvement for the better. I think even you would admit that.

Q Let me go back to the Americans. Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting, and they're looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.


Q So -- you don't care what the American people think?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. Think about what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had paid attention to polls, if they had had polls during the Civil War. He never would have succeeded if he hadn't had a clear objective, a vision for where he wanted to go, and he was willing to withstand the slings and arrows of the political wars in order to get there. And this President has been very courageous, very consistent, very determined to continue down the course we were on and to achieve our objective. And that's victory in Iraq, that's the establishment of a democracy where there's never been a democracy, it's the establishment of a regime that respects the rights and liberties of their people, as an ally for the United States in the war against terror, and as a positive force for change in the Middle East. That's a huge accomplishment." []

He went on to say that he is certain of victory, though he didn't clarify if victory just means bigger profits for himself and his carpet-bagging buddies.

Cheney then noted the economy was going through a rough patch, grabbed his pole and borrowed the Sultan of Oman's 60-foot royal yacht to do some fishin'.


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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Animal Cruelty Sunday

This morning it was news of the raid on Tiger Ranch Cat Sanctuary and I said that I was concerned that people would use the news as an excuse to buy from breeders that are really just mills. Tonight there's a story of a couple of breeders that had about 800 small breed dogs that they kept in their triple-wide trailer. While the news story implies this is a case of good intentioned breeders who started hoarding, the fact that the couple would take the pups, which sold for up to $2,000/each, to prospective buyers instead of allowing them to meet the animals where the animals lived, shows the couple knew how they were handling the dogs was pretty damned shady.


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Sunday Sermonette: Strange

Anxiously awaiting The Feeling's Join With Us to be released on this side of the pond, I'm playing the heck outta 12 Stops And Home. I've been feeling Strange lately as it seems quite apropos for the Palm Sunday after the death of Lawrence King & the hatemongering of Sally Kern and her supporters


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A promise that was really a threat

To animal rescue groups desperate to find a no kill shelter to care for cats that would otherwise be euthanized, Tiger Ranch Cat Sanctuary near Pittsburgh was a godsend. We've all heard the adage that if it's too good to be true it isn't true but, when it comes to no kill shelters, animal lovers will do whatever they can to ensure the promise that no kill animal shelters are a safe haven for animals with no viable alternative. Unfortunately, the safe haven wasn't so safe and raid by the PA SPCA last week revealed the shelter was a nightmare for the thousands of cats sent there

A 120-member team of shelter workers, police, veterinarians and volunteers descended on the property, 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, on Thursday night after a seven-month undercover investigation and found hundreds of sick and dying cats, 105 cat carcasses in freezers, and a fresh burial pit.

"What struck me was how young the cats were," Howard Nelson, chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania SPCA said yesterday after witnessing several autopsies. "They did not die natural deaths. They were coming in healthy, were exposed to horrific viruses, and died a horrific death."

The raid was the result of a seven month investigation, but people have been concerned about the quality of care at the shelter for over a year. The Western PA Humane Society had conducted its own investigation which found no violations but noted that Tiger Ranch owner Linda Bruno was obviously over-extended. Why something wasn't done at that point and closer, routine scrutiny of the shelter didn't occur is beyond me. Instead, cats that could have been spared weren't and the shelter conditions continued to deteriorate because the Humane Society wasn't exactly proactive in working with Bruno to improve conditions. I just hope this doesn't further undermine the public's confidence in shelters in general and deter people from adopting animals from rescue groups instead of going to pet stores and breeders.


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Saturday, March 15, 2008

87 kinds of chocolate chip

According to a well written, logical and thoughtful article by Vicki Haddock at San Fransisco Chronicle Magazine & posted at Alternet, Dennis Prager may be wrong about the underlying cause for the difference in the incidence of depression between men and women.

"Aha!" opposing sides in the culture wars declared, glomming onto the findings to bolster their own takes on gender conflict. But this newly identified "happiness gap" is hardly a prima facie indictment of feminism for having worsened the lot of women, given that most women adamantly oppose to a return to rigid gender roles. Nor could it be attributable mainly to the notion that men are slacking while women work a second shift -- full time in the workforce and a second full-time job at home. The results show that women are spending the same number of hours working now, on average, as in the 1970s, although a greater percentage is outside work. As for housework, men have picked up a greater, though still minority, share. Much of the cooking and cleaning is "hired out" or simply goes undone (Americans now spend $26 billion more each year on restaurants than grocery stores.)

Even so, men today report spending less time on activities they regard as stressful and unpleasant than a few decades ago. Women still spend about 23 hours a week in the unpleasant-activity zone -- which was about 40 minutes more than men four decades ago, and now amounts to 90 minutes more than men.


Since 1972, women's self-described levels of happiness have fallen a few percentage points and now rest below that of men, on average, in every age category. It is particularly pronounced in those ages 30 to 44 -- not coincidentally, women dealing with child rearing and aging parents, while reaching a critical point in their careers.

While Haddock and many experts appear to agree with Prager that the plethora of choices newly available to women since the 70s does tend to increase overall dissatisfaction, she recognizes that there are ramifications to every decision and that those very lofty goals we often set for ourselves frequently come from mass media selling the perfect life as well as the empowerment afforded by the results of feminism. As Joe Jackson says "They say that choice is freedom, I'm so free it drives me to the brink."

Surely, without the additional choices in the work-career arena, women would still falter under the pressure to be a perfect Martha Stewart hostess, rearing perfect children and making everything look so happy in front of their neighbors and family. I wonder how many of those perfectly happy housewives of the 60s and 70s were as happy and fulfilled as they claimed as the time - after all, registering lack of satisfaction when you "had it all" was not as acceptable then as it is today (I'd be willing to bet they were even less happy because they had to front instead of admitting how they really felt). More importantly, how many of those grateful and satisfied wives and mothers remained so after their husbands left or lost their jobs and the wives had to work to support their families? [This, by the way, is yet another reason many women of my generation choose to focus on career to ensure some degree of financial stability prior to getting married and having children. ]

We need to stop with the "what if" questions and take a step back to decide if we could be happy or satisfied with our lives as they are if that other "what if" situation wasn't a possibility. I could go on and make myself miserable assuming the grass is greener elsewhere, as a matter of fact I have actually chosen to follow that green grass a few times only to have to admit that I made a really bad decision. I may not be able to go back an unmake that decision, but I can learn from it and realize the next greener pasture I think "what if" about may really be a muddy mess.


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

How feminists set women up to be down

The Christotheocrats's pet Jew, Dennis Prager, has given his keepers the big O (the one other than Oprah) by asserting he knows the reason that women suffer depression twice as often as men do. Instead of the old standby misogynistic "women are silly and emotional" chestnut, Prager surmises the root cause of depression in women today is feminism
As I wrote in my book on happiness ("Happiness Is a Serious Problem," HarperCollins), much unhappiness comes from having expectations. When our expectations are not fulfilled -- and most are not -- we can become unhappy and even bitter. And when our expectations are fulfilled, we are no happier because fulfilled expectations undermine gratitude (we are not grateful when we get what assume we will get) and gratitude is indispensable to happiness.

Feminism raised women's expectations beyond what life can deliver to the vast majority of them. It was hard enough for women in the past to realize their far fewer expectations of marrying a good man and making a happy family. But feminism told a generation of women that they can not only expect to have that but, perhaps even more important to feminism, they could also expect to have a fulfilling, financially rewarding, society-honoring career.
In other words women are depressed because they could barely meet very low expectations of making their hubby and brood happy which means they're bound to be depressed after the pretty much destined failure to achieve anything outside of fulfilling their traditional duty. Better yet, those silly women who do achieve their goals aren't grateful enough to appreciate the success they didn't really deserve.

Those damned feminists!

Yes Dennis, keep offering us silly women your advice which advances the notion that a woman is worthless without a husband and children because we all know that women who settled and stay in unhappy, fulfilling marriages do not suffer from depression because they are grateful some man gave them the chance to make him happy.


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Monday, March 10, 2008

TLC viewers channel their inner Santorum

"Unless you're about to starve there is no reason for you to be at work. If you didn't want to raise your children, you should not have had them. It's child abandonment."
TLC has really irked the "traditional" family set because the premise to their newest show is letting Stay At Home Mothers (SAHMs) give their dream job a try without making a commitment to going back to the work force. The reaction? Mass histrionics on the TLC message board, especially since the first mother whose episode aired apparently had the talent to be offered a full time job as a fashion designer and, her family supported the idea. Many SAHMs lambasted any mother who would willingly engage in working outside her home as "selfish"
Adrian's wish to fill a missing creative void raised even more hackles: "Could any more feminist crap be shoved down our throats? The idea that you need a career to be complete? How about feeling complete by parenting your kids the right way?"
This argument is just as pitiful as the argument that a woman must have a family to be complete and the comments are as offensive as those from feminists who deride SAHMs who decide that they are more than adequately stimulated and fulfilled making their family their full-time job.

The quality of maternal parenting is not directly related to whether a woman stays at home or has a career outside of her home. Despite the insistence of a guy obsessed with everyone else's sex life, the act of staying at home does not, by default, make one a better woman or a superb mother, and careers outside of the home do not mean a woman is not parenting their kids the "right way".


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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sunday Sermonette: Speak to the sky

Back in the days when Rick Springfield was Australian, before Jessie or his girl, the man sang cheery little 70's pop tunes

he was also a cartoon character that was way cooler than Dr. Noah Drake


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Saturday, March 08, 2008

over 30 blues: why do I HAVE to get married?

It's no secret that any single (never married) woman over thirty is a spinster, and that spinsterhood in Puritanica is even worse than being a divorcee. This is one social situation in which being a lesbian may put a woman at an advantage because then you at least have an excuse for not netting a husband, and we all know that being single is the antithesis to being a woman. Women, we are taught, must couple up because single people are alone. Most people confuse being alone with being lonely and even more would prefer to live a lonely (painfully lonely) existence fronting as part of a couple than be single. If you doubt this, just read "Marry Him" by Lori Gottlieb in the March edition of Atlantic Magazine. In the article, Gottlieb advises spinsters to just settle so they can get married
My advice is this: Settle! That’s right. Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo!” in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go. Based on my observations, in fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run, since many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with each passing year. (It’s hard to maintain that level of zing when the conversation morphs into discussions about who’s changing the diapers or balancing the checkbook.)
Over the years, I have watched friends, colleagues and family fill the need to be part of a couple by jumping from one relationship to the next. I've always feared that most of the time this relationship hysteria was as much to avoid the appearance of being unworthy of a relationship and loneliness as it was due to a pathological need to be part of a couple. I have witnessed the brutal power some women exert when saying the words "my boyfriend", "my fiancee" or "my husband". I have witnessed too many girls (I can only call them girls because they did not appear to have the emotional maturity to rightly be called women) who were so very eager to marry that they ID'd their prospects with more accuracy than a Peacekeeper missile, alienate all their friends planning the perfect wedding and wonder why they're not happy after they're married (this does not mean that I think marriage is always to meet a social objective; I know quite a few people who are truly happy and settled in their marriages).

I am, on occasion, ambivalent about having never married. While I have a tendency towards an embarrassing degree of sentimentality, I was never one of those girls who was planning weddings with each new boyfriend, madly in love right away, or even one looking for Mr. Right to have the perfect marriage. To be honest, I really had no interest in marriage and babies through adolescence and much of my adult life. Actually, with rare exception, I didn't start really crushing on guys until I was in college. I have (for good reason) major league trust and self-image issues and my life plans were based on my being married to the lab. I'm guessing this is why I've always had what I would consider a realistic and pragmatic attitude about love and marriage. Since these were things I hadn't considered for myself, I'm able to be quite objective about them.

I left the lab ages ago. I have since turned 30 (and then some) and become friends with people who were able to find a work-life balance. This has made me think about apsects of marriage and family that do appeal to me, but those aspects that appeal to me are those related to the things I've always thought are required for a stable, loving relationship/marriage: mutual love, respect and admiration; complementing one another. For me, the deep, earthshattering romantic love is built on friendship, not the other way around. I am friends with guys I will never have a romantic interest in but I could not have a romantic relationship with a guy I wouldn't want as a friend.

I don't understand the point of marriage without that abiding friendship coupled with intimacy and respect. Maybe this is why I don't understand how anyone could say that letting gay people get married is in any way a threat to marriage - but then, I'm not so sure that so-called "traditional marriage" has anything to do with what I feel is required to make a marriage worthwhile. Regardless, while I appreciate Ms. Gottlieb's advice on how to avoid the stigma of spinsterhood, settling for the sake of being a socially acceptable married woman (and running the risk of becoming bitter divorcee or worse, miserably married) just isn't an option for me.


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Thursday, March 06, 2008

The power of words

Yesterday, I spotted a post at Pam's about fundie wingnuts Harry Bishop and Tony Perkins (the one who wouldn't have dreamed about auditioning for "Some Like it Hot") who were hawking a book about how they and their minions know that their faith is the right path to decent public policy. Pam even posted the inside flap of their book, "Personal Faith Public Policy" [emphasis, Pam's]

Where do we go from here? Is there a set of public policies and personal choices we can make that will ensure another four hundred years of God's blessing upon America? Today we stand at a crossroads. In Personal Faith, Public Policy, Harry Jackson and Tony Perkins take a fresh, balanced look at the core issues we are facing today, laying out a comprehensive strategy that can bring evangelicals together across racial and denominational lines to:

1. Preserve and protect life by continuing our fight for the unborn; addressing issues such as child abuse, stem cell research, elder care and euthanasia, and capital punishment; and standing firm against those who would take innocent life through acts of terrorism

2. Reform immigration policy by improving our legal immigration process while dealing with our rampant illegal immigration problem

3. Alleviate domestic poverty and ensure justice at home by reforming health care and reasserting our mission to help the working poor, orphans, widows, and the destitute to find personal, spiritual, and financial refuge

4. Cultivate racial harmony and diversity by developing partnerships across racial lines and raising up minority leaders in key politically active ministries

5. Protect religious freedom by learning the truth about the separation of church and state, the current religious liberties battleground, and what the Bible says about the freedom of religion

6. Defend marriage and family by supporting promarriage policies and divorce reform at both the national and state levels

7. Protect the environment by properly caring for God's creation and making changes in America's energy policies

America's future can be as bright as the promises of God. To realize these promises, we must take action on these seven critical steps in our private lives, in our churches, and collectively in our public policy.

Anyone who knows me knows I don't think public policy should be based on biblical reasoning and, despite the religious right stomping their collective feet about how the US is a "Christian" country, the government was set up specifically to avoid co-mingling with religion to protect the government and religion from each other. The pronouncements of leaders within the religious wingnut movement are rife with hypocrisy. Just take a look at the divorce rate in the religious denominations that make up the movement. So, what did I do, I mouthed off with the following comment which generated the following

Those people can't solve their own problems (0.00 / 0)
They have these problems at significant rates in their own congregations and if they can't solve them for their own people why the heck should we let them have any say in public policy to force their "solutions" on those of us who disagree with them?

[ Reply ]
*[new] Hey ol' cranky (0.00 / 0)
I kinda get what you are saying and I know you don't mean it as it came across, but your comment does sound a little racist (ducking the paper cups).

But I know where you are coming from in terms of superficial African-American ministers sowing division in their own conversations by not talking about real issues that affect the black community (i.e. the continued dehumanization of lgbts of color)

Contrary to the tone of this post, I'm not angry. To be honest, I was surprised. See, I was so focused on the wingnuttery, I failed to notice any reference to crossing racial barriers (this was probably willful on my part, especially since I think it's part of the same political opportunism the fundamentalists use to get Catholic support when they say all sorts of nasty things about how Catholics aren't Christians, etc.).

I do, howver, have to reiterate a point I've made before that we need to stop being the word police. When I typed "those people", I meant the leadership and foamy mouthed minions of the fundie christotheocrat movement. This is something Author got but also, and very sadly, his mind still went "there". It's as though we have trained ourselves to automatically look for a slight where it is likely none was intended. This gives bigots a humongous power over us as they can intentionally slight someone and play the I didn't mean that card and then sit back and enjoy how, in our very oversensitivity to use of words and phrases, we start questioning or pontificating about these words regardless of who says them or the full context of the conversation. This gives those who mean to offend power to do so by proxy. We need to take the "sticks & stones" approach and let them go out of their way to offend; if we continue the current approach, their getting their thrills at very cheap discounted rates and getting us riled up is worth so much more than that.


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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Oh goodie, I LOVE puppet shows

Since Vladmir Putin's hand is up his ass, Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to work closely with the "former" Russian Preznit (and current Prime Minister).


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Disastrous talk of disasters

Liberal Avenger has something to say about Israel's Minister of Defense, Matan Vilnai, going Clint Eastwood on Hamas, especially because his decision to use the word "shoah" has been translated by Reuters as Holocaust. I generally agree with LA but, this time, not so much. The entire quote as translated reads [emphasis mine]:
"The more Qassam (rocket) fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, (the Palestinians) will bring upon themselves a bigger holocaust because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," Vilnai told Army Radio. [Reuters]
Now, far be it from me to defend the Israeli government, but Vilnai isn't a member of one of those ultra-orthodox parties so, despite his IDF background and reviewing the translation in context, my read on the statement was that he was saying if the [Palestinian supported] Hamas keeps their attacks up, Israel is going all Six-day war on them.

Like many Americans, I'm sick and tired of the troubles and terrorism created by British colonialism [in all fairness, I'm disgusted by American Colonialistic shite too] and extremely concerned about how dangerous the world currently is because of it. This being said, 9/11/01 and my old days at in the lab aside, my concerns when I go home or drive to work or on any given day do not include the very real threat of terroristic attacks. Israelis deal with that every day and border security (or lack thereof) has a much more palpable impact on them than it does to us (and that effect is felt by them daily), so I have no choice but to understand why they can be hawks to defend their borders.

As a very young child, I remember talk of the settlers and even then I knew that those settlements would eventually have to be left behind. The Israeli settlements on land won in the six-day war were meant to be antagonistic; in settling people in Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights Israel were giving the Arab world the finger, but it was all done with the implicit knowledge that the rest of the world would only tolerate Israel's actions for so long before they would be forced to give the land back. Israel is only secure in its insecurity and this is the only way the world in general is willing to tolerate her existence.

It's time to give the land (except East Jerusalem; holy sites in Jerusalem have only been open to all members of the Abrahamic religions under Israeli rule) back. It's time for the Arab countries to really support the descendants of the very Palestinians they and the British turned into refugees. It's time for Palestinian authorities, Arab Nations and the rest of the world to say enough is enough - you're getting your land, your getting full control of it and don't fuck it up by allowing your country to be used as a launching ground for attacks on your neighbors. The problem is, I don't know too many people who are truly optimistic enough to believe that there can be peace if Israel is allowed to exist at all but, in risking so much, Israel deserves the same right as every other sovereign nation to secure her borders and, frankly, she not only has the right to threaten to create one hell of disaster on those who would attack her, she has the right to act on that threat if need be.


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Yet ANOTHER reason we need to institute a national primary

Yes, Barack Obama is an eloquent and charismatic speaker, and I admit I had goosebumps when I watched his speech at the 2004 DNC convention. At that time I said I thought I had watched a future presidential contender for the 2012 or 2016 elections. As impressed and moved as I was then, I am not naive enough now to think that a couple of years in the Senate is enough for Obama to show he can actually accomplish the change he keeps saying he wants to accomplish (the fact he's spent much of his time in office running for POTUS doesn't make a case for him being a "doer" instead of a talker). Additionally, during his run for POTUS he's done quite a bit of pandering (some of it with questionable timing) that doesn't sit well with me.

It is, however, abundantly clear that the mass media has become deeply infatuated with
Prince Charming dubbed Obama the candidate and appears to have absolutely no regard for the views of those whose states still haven't voted. Why should they care? I mean, after all, the DNC and Barack Obama are perfectly content to ignore the voices of Democrats in Michigan and Florida (in all fairness, in such a close election, I'm sure Obama would care if those states had voted for him). Heck, Jonathan Alter from Newsweek thinks Clinton should just crown Obama herself drop out now and get out of Barry's way already

As a Democrat and as an American, I resent all of this. The DNC is happily planning to ignore certain voters in much the same way as voters were ignored in the 2000 elections. That election lead us to an unfortunate and unnecessary war that further destabilized an unstable region, left us unable & unprepared to address more significant potential threats elsewhere, and is a constant reminder of the damage we did to our own country over Viet Nam. It also left this country on the verge of a precipitous fall into the dark ages at the behest of those who believe that government and religion should be the same (provided it's their religion that is the government).

The current primary conditions is a phased system that does nothing but empower (and embolden) a two party system, marginalizes those who vote for a candidate who must drop out because s/he doesn't win critical early primaries, weights the votes of citizens based solely on their residence and, worst of all, does nothing to ensure legitimate ideas are thoroughly evaluated. The DNC and the phased primary system have screwed us over and it's high time we have an major overhaul of our election system. In the meantime, I hope to G-d that the candidates can put egos aside and work together to actually make the positive changes we need and undo the damage of Nero W.


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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Old tearjerkers

Zuzu decided to ruin everyone's day by posting Terry Jacks' Seasons in the Sun which just brought back heart-wrenching memories of the following

and, of course, this:

Yeah, I'm that old

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Childhood discipline in sexual deviance: yet another meaningless correlation

Via Raw Story. Ever been turned on by rough sex? How about been dumb enough to have unprotected sex? Do you have to coerce partners to get laid? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, your parents' use of spanking to discipline you as a child has turned you into an irresponsible sadomasochist that may well have the tendency to use verbal/physical coercion to get a partner to agree to sex. At least that's the claim coming from Murray Strauss at University at New Hampshire.

Straus, co-director of UNH's Family Research Laboratory, conducted a study in the mid-1990s in which he asked 207 students at three colleges whether they'd ever been aroused by masochistic sex. He also asked them if they'd been spanked as children. He found that students who were spanked were nearly twice as likely to like masochistic sex.


Straus asked 14,000 college students in 32 different countries whether they strongly disagreed, disagreed, agreed or strongly agreed with this statement: "I was spanked or hit a lot before age 12." He also asked whether they had ever verbally or physically coerced an uninterested partner to have sex.

He found a big difference between students who said they'd been hit a lot before age 12 and those who said they hadn't. For every increased step on Straus's four-step scale of agreement, men were 10 percent more likely to have verbally coerced sex from a partner by insisting on sex or threatening to end the relationship if the partner refused. Women were 12 percent more likely to have done that.

Strauss plans to use this data to get state lawmakers to dedicate funds to teach parents against the evils of spanking children. Being spanked "a lot" as a child could be a sign of multiple things such as an overall ill behaved child, an unruly child that doesn't respond to time-outs or reasoning, stressed parents and/or parents who are very good or consistent at setting limits for their children. What I think of as spanked " a lot" is probably different than what someone else may think of as "a lot".

Correlation is not causation, that's something that must be kept in mind when analyzing this data. There's too much leeway for confounding to make me take Strauss' studies very seriously. While I don't think spanking is always the best choice for discipline, I'm not so sure that being spanked is what makes people use the "if you loved me you would" line to get laid or that unmarried couples, of whom neither were spanked, are always going to use protection.


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